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Unilever to sell Culver Specialty Brands division

BY Allison Cerra

LONDON and ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Unilever has inked a definitive agreement to sell one of its divisions for $325 million in cash.

Unilever said it plans to sell its Culver Specialty Brands division — which houses such brands as Mrs. Dash, Molly McButter, Bakers Joy, Sugar Twin and Static Guard, which are sold in the United States and Canada — to B&G Foods. The division, which garnered $90 million in revenue for Unilever for the 12 months ended in September, became part of the company after Unilever’s acquisition of Alberto-Culver.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close this year, Unilever said.

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Darrell Johnson named Heineken USA senior director of regional marketing

BY Allison Cerra

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Heineken USA has appointed a new senior director of regional marketing.

In his new role, Darrell Johnson will work with brand marketing, trade marketing activation and the regional marketing directors to develop a strategy and process for local programming that ensures consistent execution against national brand strategy at the local level, the company said.

Johnson will report to Heineken VP trade marketing and sales strategy Kheri Tillman.

“Darrell is a fantastic asset for Heineken USA. His extensive experience in strategic planning and marketing, combined with his proven ability to translate innovative ideas into action, will help accelerate the momentum of our brands at the regional and local level,” Tillman said.

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Whole Foods touts kosher offerings

BY Gail Hoffer

AUSTIN — Whole Foods is taking the opportunity to reach out to its Jewish consumers by reminding them that it has a number of kosher-certified items for Hannukah, which begins Dec. 20.

The retailer is touting its availability of whole organic turkeys, pumpkin puree and roasted chestnuts to latkes, matzo meal and Hanukkah gelt (chocolate coins).

Specifically, Whole Foods is offering:

  • Potato pancake, whole wheat matzo meal, latkes, natural cake, stuffing and soup mixes from Streit’s, a family-owned purveyor of kosher food since 1925;

  • Organic soups and dishes from Fig Food;

  • Gefen Chestnuts, roasted and peeled;

  • Yehuda lightly salted and toasted onion gluten-free matzo crackers;

  • An assortment of Simply Organic gluten-free and vegetarian baking mixes;

  • Elyon Kosher marshmallows;

  • Responsibly-sourced, Whole Trade Hanukkah gelt from Divine Chocolate;

  • Organic concord grape juice and gefilte fish from Kedem, a family business for eight generations;

  • Exclusive So Delicious chocolate mint milk made from creamy coconut milk; and

  • Hanukkah candles.

Select Whole Foods stores also will offer antibiotic-free kosher poultry options from Kosher Valley including fresh and frozen whole young turkeys and chickens, ground turkey and value pack options, which are all certified by the Orthodox Union and the K’hal Adath Jeshurun.

"Our customers can always count on us for the highest quality holiday products," said Errol Schweizer, senior global grocery coordinator for Whole Foods. "Whether they’re looking for traditional holiday staples or the best organic and gourmet offerings, Whole Foods Market is a great kosher destination."

While Whole Foods may have an impressive selection of kosher products compared with other grocers, it faces stiff competition in largely Jewish areas where entirely kosher supermarkets provide the assortment of products not available at typical food retailers.

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